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Holman Bible Dictionary

Inner Man

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; INWARD MAN The component of human personality responsive to the requirements of the law. According to Paul's understanding (Romans 7:22-23 ), human personality has three components: (1) the inmost self where the law dwells; Paul equated this with reason (nous , Romans 7:23 ); the inmost self approximates the rabbinic yeser hatob (inclination to good); (2) the members or the flesh that is responsive to desire; the flesh approximates the rabbinic yeser harah (inclination to evil); and (3) the conscious I which is aware of both reason and desire. In rabbinic thought, the law served to tip the balance in favor of the good inclination. Paul, however, rejected this optimistic view of the law. Only the Spirit dwelling in the inner self can free the individual from the power of sin ( Romans 8:2 ; Ephesians 3:16 ). The Pauline division of personality is reflected in Freud's threefold division, superego, id, and ego.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Inner Man'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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